News / Africa

IFAD Head Calls for People Investment

IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze visits a farmer in Kenya. Credit: IFAD
IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze visits a farmer in Kenya. Credit: IFAD

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The head of the International Fund for Agricultural Development says Africa’s greatest resource is its people. He calls on leaders to heavily invest in their workforce or risk continent-wide poverty by 2030.
 
Listen to De Capua report on IFAD president
Listen to De Capua report on IFAD presidenti
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Kanayo Nwanze’s comments come in an open letter to the 23rd AU Summit on Agriculture and Food Security. It’s being held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea through June 27.
 
He said, “Someone in my capacity, as an African as well, should be able to speak openly and frankly with our heads of state. I think it’s a moral obligation. It’s a moral imperative because I believe that Africa again is at the crossroads.”
 
He said that people are Africa’s best resource, including the 200 million between the ages of 15 and 24.
 
“Now that’s a very powerful resource base. And when you also realize that that population of 200 million young people – often times unemployed – if we waste their future it’s going to be a great loss for the continent. These are the future leaders of Africa. We have to give them hope. We have to give them something to look forward to. I think if we don’t sew the seeds for that hope now, we’re going to have a very explosive situation in the next decade.”
 
He said if African leaders don’t act now the continent will account for 80 percent of the world’s poor by 2030. A figure, he said, is supported by data from the World Bank and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
 
“Africa is the only region in the world where the numbers of the poor have increased,” he said.
 
Nwanze called on African leaders to deliver development now – with the priority on rural people.
 
“Food does not grow in cities,” he said, “Food grows in rural areas. If you do not invest in the youth, particularly in the rural areas – if you do not make agriculture attractive to them – to create jobs – to generate wealth – to give them some sense of dignity – what is going to happen? They will continue to migrate from the rural areas to the urban cities. You end up with what you call the urban bulge.”
 
He warned that could lead to many disenchanted young people living in slums and susceptible to crime.
 
“When we talk about poverty, when we talk about inequality in Africa, it is basically an inequality between the rural and the urban space.”
 
More than 10 years ago, African leaders committed to the Maputo Declaration. It required that at least 10 percent of national budgets be devoted to agriculture and rural development. The IFAD president says only seven countries have fulfilled that commitment.
 
Nwanze said such investment is critical on a continent where “20 states are classified as fragile and 28 countries need food assistance.”
 
He had three recommendations for leaders at the AU Summit: Make investment in agriculture and rural development a priority, including infrastructure, energy and roads; second, invest in education, particularly of women; and third, provide social services.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid